The Matinee ’20 June 17 edition is filled with brilliant stories that will lift your spirits, take you to imaginative places, give you courage, and make you feel liberated. We’ve ordered the songs like a playlist this time, starting with some upbeat, unconventional tunes and ending with a stupendous statement.
Guerilla Toss – “Human Girl” & ” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Superorganism, Deerhoof, Rubblebucket
As we mentioned in a review of their 2018 super-fun and ultra-jazzed-up album, Twisted Crystal, Guerilla Toss are always unconventional and never boring. This week, they shared two more songs that are just as strange, and funky as you’d expect from them.
“Human Girl” has a chaotic energy to it, as one would expect from Guerilla Toss. Featuring a wonderful bass groove, cutting throwback synths, wonderful guitar parts, and complex, upbeat drums, the track is a spacey little adventure. The second track, “Own Zone”, also has a very retro-futuristic vibe to it, thanks to its deep electronic bass, synth, and very fun vocal delivery, which is eventually distorted with some vocoder. It also is an immensely danceable, fast-paced track. Both are really fun to listen to with a perfect amount of weirdness, as you’d expect from Guerilla Toss.
Guerilla Toss are Kassie Carlson, Peter Negroponte, Arian Shafiee, Samuel Lisabeth, and Stephen Cooper. The two singles are part of Sub Pop Records’ Singles Club series. They can be picked up on Bandcamp.
Gold Connections – “Iowa City” (Charlottesville, Virginia)
RIYL: Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, The Districts, Car Seat Headrest
Will Marsh’s project Gold Connections is a walking encyclopedia of rock ‘n roll. His 2018 exhilarating musical journey – otherwise known as his terrific album, Popular Fiction – evidenced this. His talents are boundless, which is evidenced in “Iowa City”.
Whereas much of their discography is littered with upbeat indie-rockers, “Iowa City” is a lo-fi, intimate, folk-rocker. It is like Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen during their early, melodic years, when their music was ideal for both aimless road trips and watching sunsets from the comfortable confines of the verandah. It’s music that romantizes life and inspires us to believe in better things. In the case of “Iowa City”, it is the longing to be on the road again and free. It is a love letter to the wanderer within us as well as to the open road that awaits us. Hopefully soon, we’ll be heading traveling from Alburqueque to Chicago, Seattle to Miami, and doing things we all love to do.
Marsh will be donating all June Bandcamp sales to the National Bail Fund Network, which works “in solidarity with everyone fighting on the front lines for racial and economic justce in America.” Link to bail fund directory can be found here. Besides supporting a great cause, you can appreciate the art of an incredible band.
Harmony Byrne – “Sweeter Than Sugar” (Warrandyte, Australia)
RIYL: Elle King, Fiona Apple, Meg Myers
Harmony Byrne is a force to be reckoned with. The talented Australian has just released her debut album and each track is quite mesmerizing. Her sheer confidence bleeds through every note, particularly on “Sweeter Than Sugar”, which showcases the killer rock vibe that she has created.
Harmony’s tone echoes of Fiona Apple and gives out a sultry vibe but with an IDGAF attitude. This song is the perfect track to play if your goal is to be productive. It also has a great cadence for the gym or something less glamorous like cleaning the house.
The lyrics hint to an obvious love song yet Harmony shares a little more context behind the track:
“This song was written about a friend’s band, which inspired me so much to be a front woman of a rock band. The song has now grown in meaning – it is dedicated to all the artists out there who are working their asses off to create. Without the inspiration of others I don’t know where I would be today. It is through their examples that I recommit every day. And so I just want to say a big Thank You – to every being out there who chooses to create art.”
We totally agree with her assessment – if there wasn’t amazing music released every single day we would not be inspired to write about it and share. We definitely love all the bands that continue to create, even in this often weird current environment.
Byrne’s debut album, Heavy Doors, is out now. Get it here.
Leah Dunn – “Bath” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, early Sharon Van Etten
Plenty of songs have made us say “Wow” or “Sensational”. Then there are tunes that make us do double, even triple takes during its duration and leave us speechless. Such songs usually leave us in a state of disbelief, as could someone so young craft something with tremendous lyrical depth while mesmerizing with its patient yet jittery indie-rock approach? The only way to find out is to replay it again and again and again. This is what Leah Dunn has achieved with “Bath”.
The Bay-area singer-songwriter released a three-track EP, Oakland, in 2019, and she will unveil her debut album in a couple of weeks. Although the news has yet to circulate widely, maybe that changes after people hear her latest single. “Bath” is a revelation. It’s the coming-out-party for an artist with the songwriting chops of a Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Sophia Allison (Soccer Mommy), and Adrianne Lenker (Big Thief) and musical style of a young Sharon Van Etten.
The melodically-paced rhythms and the echo of the keys create an uneasy yet entrancing atmosphere. Through the haze, a series of vignettes is recalled via Dunn’s whispery delivery. The events are tied to one thing – the constant grind of everyday life that can eventually decimate a person. The song is filled with outstanding moments. In particular, the visual of “I need to take a bath”, which is an anedote of cleansing oneself after punching the wall and a yoga ball, breaking down in front of a friend at a café, and imagining what retribution would be like. Simply an amazing single from an artist people ought to know.
Dunn’s debut album, Westsuit, is coming June 26th, and pre-saves are available via one of these platforms.
The Beths – “Out of Sight” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Camp Cope, Fazerdaze, Say Sue Me
We like to do “thought experiments” when it comes to a band’s music and if they performed in another area. Maybe showing our age, we tend to think back to the ’80s and ’90s, which were the last decades that guitar-driven music reigned supreme. New Zealand’s The Beths are one group that we belief would have been been superstars at that time, specifically the ’90s. Every major soundtrack – from Empire Records to Reality Bites to Friends – would have featured their songs because the quartet skillfully blend infectious guitar-pop with relateable and personal lyrics. Their newest single, “Out of Sight”, is just another example of their throwback gifts.
“Out of Sight” will ease your nerves. Shoegaze-kissed and jangly guitars meld with bubbling rhythms to create a jittery yet soothing melody. Its atmosphere is one where we want to gently bop in one spot while daydreaming about the days to come and what we’ll do with our friends. Front-woman Elizabeth Stokes, meanwhile, is our best friend, as she reassures us that things will get better. She reassures us that even though people grow apart and relationships can fray, she’ll help us “find the light” and help us build another world should ours collapse. Maybe now more than than any time in the past thirty years, we definitely could use a friend that assists us in rebuilding our lives. Sounds like the perfect tune for a soundtrack from any era.
The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), and Tristan Deck (drums/vocals). Their new album, Jump Rope Gazers, is out July 10th on Carpark Records. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here.
Khruangbin – “Pelota” (Houston, USA & London, England)
We’ve ceased to try to categorize Khruangbin‘s music. We’re not being lazy (ok maybe we are slightly), but our decision is based on the firm belief that Laura Lee Ochoa (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) deserve a genre all to themselves. To say they’re chameleons of their craft would be a massive understatement. They are, rather, a musical mosaic, where they take numerous historical and cultural reference points and honor them with an innovative approach. Another example of their extraordinary abilities is heard on “Pelota”.
The trio take a familiar Latin approach and make it even groovier and more alluring, as funk and neo-psychedelia are weaved into the sensual sounds of the Mexico and Brazil. It’s a tune that will have you closing your eyes while you gently move your hips side to side. Or if your partner is nearby, maybe you’ll attempt to do the tango or salsa. Where the band’s innovation can truly be heard is in Ochoa’s lyrics. According to the band, this Spanish song is inspired by Japanese animé. Specifically, Ochoa tells the story about a ball (which is “pelota” in Spanish) that gets lost in a magical house and becomes a creature, possibly a demon. All this entity wants to be is “pura” or pure. She wants to be whole and no longer run from those who chase her. This sounds like much of life today. Clever.
Nancy – “Call Me on Your Telephone” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Glass Animals, Magic City Hippies, Vacationer
Nancy is the Brighton-based engima who keeps releasing an eclectic bunch of tracks that range from garage rock, psychedelic to straight up pop. Their newest offering takes us back a bit with a definite disco-funk vibe that almost includes an Oingo Boingo like homage (Think “Weird Science”). It’s the perfect track to get you through the rest of your week on this fine humpday. It might also be a message for everyone living in a digital world and separated, to just pick up a phone vs. staring at a screen and communicating with another human.
“Call Me on Your Telephone” is a proper nod to new wave greatness. It’s quirky, catchy and provides that perfect nostalgia for everyone that idolized Bowie and David Byrne. Right now, it’s the perfect track to settle in with while getting ready for a hopefully chill and relaxing weekend.
“Call Me on Your Telephone” is out on B3SCI Records. The single is from Nancy’s forthcoming EP titled Happy Oddities.
IDLES – “Grounds” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Metz, Fontaines D.C., Shame
IDLES are a band we need right now. Their 2018 record, Joy as an Act of Resistance, dealt with many social issues in a time where the world seemed to need it. It was an album about vulnerability, about justice, about immigration, and at times it was deeply personal. In yet another time where we could use their wisdom while the world seeks justice for Black lives, IDLES released their newest single, “Grounds”.
Much like “Danny Nedelko” became a pro-immigrant anthem, “Grounds” has the ability to do the same for the current unprecedented movements for justice. Lead singer Joe Talbot always seems to be able to say so much with just a few lyrics. “Do you hear that thunder? / That’s the sound of strength in numbers“, Talbot exclaims. Musically, it feels edgier than the songs on Joy. It feels intentionally simple and heavy. Each line hammered home with heavy guitar riff at the end. It’s a motivating song to move forward and keep fighting. From strength in numbers, to exclaiming “Black is beautiful”, to doing what you love with conviction.
IDLES are Joe Talbot (vocals), Mark Bowen (guitar, backing vocals), Slow Lee Kiernan (guitar), Dev Devonshire (bass, backing vocals), and Jon Beavis (drums). Their new album, Ultra Mono, will be heard loud and clear on September 25th. Ultra Mono will feature guests including Jenny Beth (Savages), Warren Ellis (Nick Cave), David Yow (The Jesus Lizard) and Jamie Cullum. Partisan Records will release it. Pre-orders available here or directly on Bandcamp.
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